ACCRINGTON Stanley keeper Scott Friend was the hero in a tense penalty shoot-out as they clinched the first Under 15s LFA Youth Cup against Charnock Richard at the County Ground in Leyland.
96 teams entered the competition and Accrington had done well to see off Wigan Latics, Lytham, Morecambe Youth, Briercliffe Rovers, Red Rose and then Kirkham in the semi-final of the competition, scoring 21 goals in the process.
It meant they were up against Charnock and the final began disastrously for Accrington as, with just one minute gone, an innocuous free kick inexplicably looped over Friend's head.
There was then nervy football from last season's double winners before Accrington began to settle down with the defence - who had only conceded two goals in the previous six rounds - getting to grips with the game.
Accrington had chances with Louis Almond firing in shot after shot and Matt Collinson coming close but they were still behind at half-time.
But, with the manager's team talk ringing in their ears, Accrington came out and started to look like champions elect.
Substitute Matt Smalley and Alex Johnson were dangerous while Phil Smith and Almond hit the woodwork but it looked like it wasn't to be Accrington's night as time ticked on.
However, with one minute remaining, a huge goalmouth scramble resulted in Smith lashing the ball in to the back of the net and started the celebrations to send the game into extra-time.
Neither side could be separated in the added 30 minutes though and it came down to the dreaded penalties.
Charnock Richard had their first brilliantly saved by Friend, Almond scored for Accrington then Charnock Richard scored to make it 2-1.
Kamran Anwar and Matt Smalley held their nerve for the next two.
Anthony Hodges needed to score to win but skied the ball although Friend then came to Accrington's rescue by saving again to give Stanley a 3-2 penalty win - and the trophy
Now it is hoped Accrington Stanley Under 12s can follow suit as they are in their LFA Cup final at the Country Ground, Leyland against Poulton Youth on 20 February ko 7pm.
Squad: Louis Almond (captain), Kamran Anwar, Alex Butterworth, Matthew Collinson, Loam Duckworth, Scott Friend, Anthony Harkness, Jonathan Hartley, Anthony Hodges, Jordan Jackson, Alex Johnson, Bobby Langford, Luke Richards, Matthew Smalley, Phil Smith.